Cyber Monday falls on 2nd December and marks the busiest online shopping day of the year. With millions of shoppers armed with their credit cards and primed to buy, making sure you are ready in time to take advantage of the day, and indeed the whole festive shopping period, is critical.
A new report by the British Retail Consortium suggests that sales volumes are showing an upward trend and are already up by 0.8% this year. In addition, industry group IMRG and consultants Capgemini are predicting that this year, consumer spending in December will exceed £10bn for the first time. With this in mind, Christmas 2013 looks set to be a bumper trading period for online retailers.
Millions of shoppers are primed and ready to purchase, and website owners will need to take steps in order to capture their attention. As online shoppers become ever more savvy, and big brands increasingly dominate the search results, finding ways in which to stand out out presents an ever bigger challenge.
There are a range of tactics that can be used that will help you to differentiate and stand out, allowing you to attract shoppers to your website, and convert them into buying customers.
The following steps will help you to maximise your sales not just on Cyber Monday, but throughout the Christmas period.
1. Preparation and hype are key, so plan ahead.
Don't leave promotions until the last minute. If you are launching deals or a promotion on Cyber Monday, make sure you have decided how long to keep them running for, ensure you have any relevant terms and conditions already written up and make sure your developer, social media manager and/or marketing agency have been fully briefed.
Once you've decided on what you are going to do, make sure you hype up the promotion or deals days in advance so shoppers are primed. If you are planning a short term flash sale, make sure you market the promotion sufficiently ahead of the launch to achieve maximum reach.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you use cross channel promotion to market the promotion to the widest possible audience.
2. Stand out visually with a Christmas makeover.
You'll be hard pressed to find any major retailers who don't give their website a festive makeover. A festive visual style helps put people in a feel good festive mood and signifys that you've got new and interesting content for them to look at.
Any major change to the homepage of your website will have an impact on engagement and even the smallest change can have a significant impact on dwell times, bounce rate and click through rates.
Consider giving your homepage a festive feel by adding a large Christmassy hero image, banner, featured products and/or background skin. All of these things will grab shoppers attention once they land on your website.
3. Use email marketing to draw customers back to you.
Email marketing is still one of the most powerful marketing tactics available to website owners. Send out an eye catching, festively designed eshot to your customers telling them about your Christmas range, seasonal opening hours or use the email to distribute a voucher code (read more about that below). This gives people a great reason to open, read and click through to your website.
Email marketing helps put your business/brand firmly in the minds of your customers, making them more likely to consider purchasing from you. Even none ecommerce websites can benefit from festive email marketing, a Christmas ecard sent to your customers and/or suppliers can be just as effective at stimulating demand.
See more Christmas email marketing ideas here.
4. Launch a Christmas promotion.
A well executed Christmas promotion can achieve outstanding results, stimulating sales and even increasing average order values. Provide customers with a free delivery voucher code, free gift wrapping or a discount voucher that they can use in the new year. Alternatively, launch a Christmas competition, which is a great way of grabbing peoples attention and keeping your business/brand in their minds.
These types of promotion can be executed and publicised across multiple channels and is a really versatile way of putting the spotlight on you. Don't just Tweet an offer once, you could also create a blog article, website landing page, send out an email, put a physical voucher in with peoples orders or create a Facebook page app.
5. Provide helpful, seasonal content that has value.
A Christmas gift guide or stocking filler ideas are the ideal way of grabbing shoppers attention, giving you the opportunity to market a selection of Christmas relevant products to them. Helping people out by saving them time so they don't have to search for suitable gifts, is a great way adding value, which will result in more sales for you.
Christmas gift guides work really well as standalone Christmas landing pages, which also have value from an SEO point of view. Add a new link to the main navigation of your website and add a nice seasonal banner or hero image to your homepage too. Make sure that once the landing page goes live, that you do a good job of publicising it and ensuring it is search engine friendly so you will also benefit from new, organically referred visitors.